Such are some of the first vague suggestions of a realm of power and knowledge not yet explored. They are mere auroral hints of a new dawn. The full day is yet to shine.
Like timid children, we have peered into the schoolhouse—afraid of the unknown master. If we will but enter we shall find that the Master is our Father, and that he has fitted up this house, out of his own infinite wisdom, skill, and love, that we may be like him in wisdom and power as well as in love.
OUR ENJOYMENT OF NATURE’S FORCES
We are a fighting race; not because we enjoy fights, but we enjoy the exercise of force. In early times when we knew of no forces to handle but our own, and no object to exercise them on but our fellow-men, there were feuds, tyrannies, wars, and general desolation. In the Thirty Years’ War the population of Germany was starved and murdered down from sixteen millions to less than five millions.
But since we have found field, room, and ample verge for the play of our forces in material realms, and have acquired mastery of the superb forces of nature, we have come to an era of peace. We can now use our forces and those of nature with as real a sense of dominion and mastery on material things, resulting in comfort, as formerly on our fellow-men, resulting in ruin. We now devote to the conquest of nature what we once devoted to the conquest of men. There is a fascination in looking on force and its results. Some men never stand in the presence of an engine in full play without a feeling of reverence, as if they stood in the presence of God—and they do.
The turning to these forces is a characteristic of our age that makes it an age of adventure and discovery. The heart of equatorial Africa has been explored, and soon the poles will hold no undiscovered secrets.
Among the great monuments of power the mountains stand supreme. All the cohesions, chemical affinities, affections of metals, liquids, and gases are in full play, and the measureless power of gravitation. And yet higher forces have chasmed, veined, infiltrated, disintegrated, molded, bent the rocky strata like sheets of paper, and lifted the whole mass miles in air as if it were a mere bubble of gas.